Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
 

Archives: January 2006


January 20, 2006

The Rocky Road Of Audio Software Development...

by Chris Randall
 

Well, it's been an interesting day. Ever since we released Phase Two (way back in the day, it seems; was it only Sunday?) we've been discussing the transition to Universal Binaries, and how Audio Damage would deal with this rather extreme event (from a developer's perspective, anyways.) We had pretty much decided on our plan of attack, then Steinberg dropped a bombshell on us this morning, in the form of a new VSTSDK, version 2.4.


This forced our hand in the decision-making process, which is both good and bad. One can assume that the two main VST hosts we deal with, Cubase/Nuendo and Live, will be VST2.4 compliant almost immediately, if they weren't already. (Which they are, of course.) On the other hand, what I refer to as the Stupid Hosts, which is pretty much everything besides Cubase/Nuendo and Live, will deal with the VST2.4 spec in fits and starts. DAWs that don't correctly host VST2.3 now can hardly be expected to host 2.4.


So, in order to be fully compliant with _all_ hosts and both flavors of AU, we'd be required to make and support eight different builds of every plugin we release, in the form of VST old and VST new on Windows, the same for both flavors of OSX, and AU for both flavors. This would have the effect of quadrupling our work, both during creation and during the support phase of a product. Now, it already strains our production cycle and support load to just do AU and VST (the latter is more or less the same on both OSX and Windows, currently.)


So, the Official Word from Audio Damage on the upcoming transitions to both 64-bit Windows and Intel Mac is thus: we will build our plugins using the current version of VST, whatever that is. (In this case, 2.4.) We will also offer all our Macintosh products as Universal Binaries. Thus, if you use a host that isn't Cubase/Nuendo, Live, Logic, or Digital Performer, your mileage will start varying in the not-too-distant future, and you need to complain to them.


Since this is going to get complicated quickly, here's our plan. We will update FuzzPlus 2 to current VST standards (which I've already done) and also add all the bells and whistles to it that our commercial plugs have, such as MIDI Learn and our new text entry gee-gaw, which was created specifically to please Suit&TieGuy, so he can stop bothering us about text entry fields. This way, if you need to know if your host is compliant with what our plugs need, you can just check it with FuzzPlus2. We will also release the long-awaited AU version in Universal Binary, for the same purpose.


Which brings us to the Universal Binaries. Here's where the bad news comes in to play. All current Audio Damage products will be ported to Universal Binary. The crossgrade for each product will be US$5.00, which will go directly to covering the cost of the Intel Macs we have to purchase to do all this. Current products will all increase in price by $5.00, as well, except PhaseTwo, which will remain at its current price. All future products will be provided as Universal Binary installers of VST2.4 and AU for OSX, and an installer for 32- and 64-bit Windows hosts that are VST2.4 compliant.


Now, as for the timeline. This is going to take a bit of time for us to get everything lined up. We have to receive our new iMacs and then learn how to make Universal Binaries, then port our product line. I'm unable to provide an estimate for when this all will occur, but suffice to say that by the time Live, Logic, DP, and Cubase/Nuendo are all available for Mac Intel, our products will be as well. The one exception to this will be the Mayhem package, which will shortly cease to exist in its current form, as it is replaced with more sophisticated offerings.


I hope that answers all the questions that I've been receiving. Adam and I will field your thoughts in the comments section of this post.


 
January 20, 2006

Hard-Core Gear Porn Friday!!! (Special Roland Edition)

by Chris Randall
 



Since there are a lot of industry people that read this blog (although, god only knows why, when it's so likely I'm gonna talk shit about them) I thought I'd have an HCGPF Special Roland Edition, in case anyone from Roland is a devotee. This one is really only for the extra-super-duper HCGPF junkie, so if you're, you know, someone with a life or something, you might want to come back next week.


Anywho, the goal today is to (a) remind the R&D folks at Roland that they work for a company that used to be cool and that's really too bad, and (b) remind the rest of us about what Roland shit that is cool is like. (Along with some other fine kit.)


There's this site that belongs to Ishibashi Co., which is what I assume is a Japanese analog to something like Musician's Friend or ZZounds or their ilk. Ishabashi has an internet learning thingy, which I was able to parse out mainly via context, as I (like 99.999% of Americans) can't read a lick of Japanese. Part of that learning thingy is a page devoted to vintage Japanese synths. (Yeah, now we're getting somewhere.) I believe that they sell videos specifically about Yamaha, Korg, and yes, Roland analogs. If you click on the individual manufacturer's links, you'll be taken to what is obviously Mecca. There are excerpts from the videos that feature the entire sections for specific instruments. In the Yamaha section, you can learn all about the CS80 and CS15. In the Korg section, you get treated to the 800, 700, and of course the MS-20. In the Roland section, you learn that just because a synth has an "SH" in its title doesn't make it fly, as the well-spoken and articulate dude takes you through the SH-1000, SH-3A, and SH-7.


I should mention before you download these monster WMV files that they're in Japanese, so your comprehension may be limited to "oooh, pretty!" But that said, they're kind of nifty, and you get to hear what each synth can do.


 
January 19, 2006

NAMM pics...

by Chris Randall
 

Brandon Daniel has put up pics of some of the analog highlights at NAMM. Check his site for the goods. (Click on NAMM shows->Winter->2006.)


Of special note are the Chaos Computer from Livewire, which looks outstanding, and the new Korg Radias, which I've taken a shine to. (Korg, unlike some synth companies named Roland that we won't name, has managed to put out some trendsetting products over the last couple years.)


 
January 19, 2006

The Ocean...

by Chris Randall
 




This is a great DIY project from Rutger Vlek. He's kept a diary about building it, which is informative reading if you're thinking about taking on a project of this scale. The synth itself, called "Ocean," is 3VCO, semi-modular, and quite the looker. He was really crafty with some solutions to obvious problems, and the diary is an excellent read.

 
January 18, 2006

Surprise! Roland bores us to tears for one more year!

by Chris Randall
 

"The A stands for Access. Fantom power for the masses!" Just what the world needs. Four more Fantom workstations. Hey, guys at Roland R&D? L stands for fucking Lame. Roland is the Stevie Wonder of the synth industry. In the 70s, they were The Shit. In the year 2006, they're just shit, with ten iterations of the synthesizer equivalent of "I Just Called To Say I Love You."
 

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